Some movies remain undead forever. Nineteen years after first airing on the Disney Channel, Halloweentown, a made-for-TV movie about a young girl who learns she comes from a long line of witches, has maintained a loyal following. The small Oregon city where the original movie was filmed, St. Helens, transforms into Halloweentown every October.
The plot of the movie is vaguely Harry Potteresque and too complicated to explain here, but the simple version is that Halloweentown is a realm separate from the mortal world where there are vampires, werewolves and creatures with pumpkins for heads who only interact with humans through a portal that opens on Halloween.
All month long, the riverfront district of St. Helens becomes that alternate realm, replete with scarecrows, witches, ghosts and pumpkins.
As part of Creepy Maps Month, we scoped out the best spots, where you'll find caramel apples, haunted hotrods and severed heads on the journey through
Spirit of Halloweentown.
1. Entrance to Spirit of Halloweentown
You're in another world now. Expect to see witches, warlocks, werewolves, trolls, ogres, zombies, pumpkin heads and full-grown adults who were 10 when this movie came out.
2. The Pumpkins at Plaza Square
You may be tempted by the shiny, silver pumpkin in the center of the square, but venture a little farther and you'll find the original pumpkin that was instrumental in saving Halloweentown from Kalabar's wrath. If you're around on Saturday, October 21, you'll encounter the Haunted Hotrod and Hearse Rally.
3. Psychic Cab
The psychic cab received a modern facelift, resembling a modern taxi. Benny isn't driving, but there's a skeleton in the front seat that looks like him—maybe it's his cousin?
4. School Bus
No, it's not a real bus and no, it doesn't fly. But you can still have your picture taken from behind a wooden standup version of the bus that takes Marnie, Dylan and Sophie from the mortal world to Halloweentown.
5. City Hall
City Hall is actually the Columbia County Courthouse. This is where Kalabar staged his final stand, unveiling his true identity. Expect to wait for a line
of people taking their pictures at the foot of the steps.
6. Haunted House
As in all mortal world Halloween events, a haunted house is a requirement. For real-life ghost stories, go across the street to the Klondike, a restaurant that has had its share of paranormal activity, including several ghost sightings and a supposedly haunted coffee machine.
7. The Columbia Theatre
The theatre where Luke betrayed the Cromwells, leading Aggie to Kalabar, who unleashed his evil freezing spell. In the movie, the theatre marquee reads "closed forever." In real life, movies still play daily.
8. Aggie Cromwell's House
The house is a bed and breakfast now. The biggest Halloweentown fans stay here, though bringing your own cauldron and "Instant Witches Brew" is highly discouraged.
Spirit of Halloweentown runs through October. St. Helens Riverfront District, discovercolumbiacounty.com. Daily schedules vary. Free.